Looking After Yourself & Staying Connected
Find information and support on how to keep yourself and your family healthy, safe and connected during COVID-19.
On this page
It is important to stay healthy and safe during COVID-19 and ok to feel emotionally or physically affected by the impact of COVID-19. If you are feeling stressed or anxious and feel you are not coping, it’s important to seek help and support. In an emergency or crisis situation you must call 000.
If you are concerned about a friend or family member’s mental wellbeing follow these 5 steps to check on them and any potential suicide risk.
CHIRP Community Health Services on 5479 1000
Counselling, Alcohol and Other Drug services, which provide counselling and withdrawal support.
Mt Alexander Family Services, which support families who are experiencing difficulties.
Housing services, which can assist people with transitional accommodation, applications for the complex Social Housing process, private rental assistance with rent arrears, moving, bonds, rent in advance and tenancy advice, emergency accommodation, advocacy, advice and referrals.
Allied Health services including diabetes support & education, heart & blood pressure monitoring, support & advice with a range of health issues and physiotherapy & exercise physiology assessments & treatment.
- Victorian Mental Health Triage – Loddon Mallee – 1300 363 788
Staffed by senior mental health clinicians, this service involves an initial assessment over the phone to determine the type and urgency of the response required from mental health or other services.
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- beyondblue on 1300 224 636
- Suicide Call Back Service – mental health support, call back service: 1300 659 467 or online (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Headspace on 1800 650 890
- QLife Switchboard on 1800 184 527
- Gambler’s Help on 1800 858 858
- Talk it out on 1300 022 946 – free professional phone counselling services 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people 15 years and older living or working in the Murray PHN region.
- Australian Government Services Australia – mental health care and Medicare information
- Victorian Mental Health Triage – Loddon Mallee – 1300 363 788
To help keep a healthy headspace during this time, it’s important to stay connected to family and friends, eat well and ensure you stay active.
Here are some simple tips to help reduce worry and stress and maintain a healthy mindset:
- Take a break from the news
- Stay active
- Stay connected to friends and family
- Eat well
- Get enough sleep
- Talk to a trusted friend/adult if it all feels a bit much.
There are many other helpful resources and help available on-line. Below is a list of links that may be useful to improve your mental wellbeing and assist you to cope better during COVID-19.
- Mount Alexander Shire: Keeping mentally well resource -This wallet card provides an easy guide to local, regional & national services as well as hints and tips for staying mentally well. It is a resource for anyone in the community who is struggling with their mental health or who knows someone who needs some support. You will find these cards in local businesses, post offices, community hubs and Council’s Civic Centre or you can download a copy of the Mount Alexander Shire: Keeping mentally well card.
- DHHS – Coronavirus mental health resources
- Beyond Blue – Trained counsellors are available to support you if you are feeling worried or struggling to cope with the impacts of COVID-19. Call: 1800 512 348 – 24 hours (7 days a week) or visit:
– Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing support service
– Beyond Blue – Translated mental health resources
– Online Forum: beyondblue.org.au
- headspace.org.au – support, information and resources for young people
- eheadspace – Online and webchat support and counselling for 12-25 year olds, their family and friends.
- mindspot.org.au – Online assessment and treatment for anxiety and depression
- mentalhealthonline.org.au – Mental health online service
- mycompass.org.au -Black Dog Institute personalised self-help tool for your mental health
- Managing your mental health online during COVID-19
Looking After Yourself
If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call 000 and ask for an ambulance.
DHHS Coronavirus Hotline
Call: 1800 675 398 – 24 hours (7 days a week)
Online self-assessment tool: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-self-assessment
Mount Alexander COVID-19 Screening Clinic
This screening clinic provides testing for people with symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and for those requiring mandatory COVID-19 testing prior to surgery. Appointments are essential – call CHIRP Community Health on 5479 1000 between 9am – 5pm, 7 days a week to book an appointment. Please leave a detailed message to receive a call back. Further information can be found here.
The Australian Government Department of Health website has information on coronavirus (COVID-19) including, symptoms, seeking medical attention and self-isolation: www.health.gov.au
Local GP clinics within Mount Alexander Shire are also testing registered patients via appointment:
Lyttleton Street Clinic, Call: (03) 5472 3233
Mostyn Street Clinic, Call: (03) 5472 1255
Botanical Gardens Clinic, Call: (03) 5472 1844
If you aren’t registered with a local GP clinic, your nearest COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinic is:
Bendigo Respiratory Clinic
Call: 1800 573 196 (by appointment only)
Visit: 126 Spring Gully Road, Spring Gully VIC 3550
Online booking: www.hotdoc.com.au/medical-centres
To view the locations of testing stations in Victoria visit DHHS – Where to get tested in Victoria
There are many ways to stay connected with family and friends during COVID-19 restrictions including telephone and video calls and social media. Local groups and organisations have set up Facebook pages as a way to keep connected and offer help. The Victorian Stage Government and our local community are also running initiatives to keep people connected and engaged.
Victoria Together shares some of the best music, entertainment, nature and art our state has to offer. Because even though we’re at home – we’re together. Visit www.together.vic.gov.au
- With LOVE, your neighbour Castlemaine & Surrounds Facebook page
- Castlemaine and Surrounds – Neighbours – Locals connect – website to access local information and resources
- The Castlemaine Collective is a small group of local Castlemaine people that have formed in response to the rapidly changing situation with the COVID19 pandemic and its impact on our community with a weekly YouTube channel. www.facebook.com/castlemainecommons
- MAINfm Lockdown Lowdown weekly radio program – www.facebook.com/949mainfm
- Open Mic Castlemaine weekly video show – local performers live in the studio, lockdown-style at home and other local music clips
- Castlemaine Community House – Call 5472 4842 or visit www.cch.org.au
- Maldon Neighbourhood Centre – Call 5475 2093 or visit www.maldonnc.org.au
- Castlemaine Library – To contact the library please email email@example.com or visit www.ncgrl.vic.gov.au for more information.
- Sports Focus – Support and information for community sporting clubs – www.sportsfocus.com.au
- Supporting our Arts – To find relevant information related to our arts, culture and the creative industries
If you need support, information, advice on who to contact or what to do, or simply need to talk to someone who will listen, call the friendly staff at CHIRP Community Health on (03) 5479 1000 – 9am to 5pm (Monday – Friday).
Australian Red Cross – COVID Connect also have volunteers that are happy to call you – once or regularly – for a friendly chat to help maintain or improve social connection.
COVID Connect is a free service from Australian Red Cross, for adults of all ages, to provide support and community connection to people who are feeling socially isolated as a result of COVID-19.
It is available to anyone who is not in regular social contact with is experiencing isolation or loneliness. Call 1800 733 276 or register online at: www.redcross.org.au
(Note: It is not a service for people wanting assistance with their mental health or those who require assistance in a crisis).
Be Connected is an Australian Government initiative committed to increasing the confidence, skills and online safety of older people and empowering all Australians to thrive in a digital world. They offer online resources and support to learn the basics of using digital devices and engaging with the internet. For more information visit https://beconnected.esafety.gov.au/
In Mount Alexander Shire the following organisations offer weekly Be Connected sessions to help you with all your technology needs by providing one on one IT support with a digital mentor.
- Mount Alexander Shire Council
- Castlemaine Library
- Castlemaine Community House
- Maldon Neighbourhood Centre
To view the Be Connected sessions offered locally you can view the weekly program here: BeConnected Flyer
Castlemaine Library also offer additional specific Be Connected workshops, for example Getting started with your iphone or Introduction to MyGov. To check the program visit www.ncgrl.vic.gov.au/beconnected
Disability & Accessibility
Access and Support Service – Mount Alexander Shire Council
The Access and Support Service provides short term support for frail, older people, people with a disability, and their carers, who:
- Need help to stay living at home
- Have diverse needs or circumstances
- Need help to access services
To access this free service please contact Philippa Calwell on 5471 1700 or 0456 901 622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au
A people centred, community based organisation committed to eliminating barriers to participation, inclusion and acceptance for people with disabilities in their local community. Call 5472 1599 or email email@example.com or visit www.windarring.org.au
Mount Alexander Shire Disability Advocacy Group — visit www.cch.org.au/masdag
Disability Information Helpline
For information and referrals for people with disability and their supporters who need help because of COVID-19. Call 1800 643 787 (Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9am-7pm).
If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment you can call the National Relay Service on 133 677.
If you require support in another language, you can use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) free of charge by calling the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787 and asking for an interpreter, or calling TIS on 131 450 and ask to be connected to the Disability Information Helpline.
National Disability Insurance Scheme - NDIS COVID-19 information
My Aged Care
If you are not registered with My Aged Care and are aged 65 years or over, registration can be set up quickly for up to six (6) weeks without the need for an assessment. Call 1800 200 422 (Monday-Friday, 8am - 8pm and Saturday 10am - 2pm)
Dementia Support Australia
Free Nationwide Support - 24 hour help call 1800 699 799 or visit Dementia Support Australia
Other helpful resources
Support for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander
- DHHS - COVID-19 information for Aboriginal communities
- Nalderun is a service that supports the local Aboriginal Community, lead by Aboriginal people
Other helpful resources
If you are worried about someone who is experiencing family violence – check in with them. They can leave home to escape harm. Family violence services are still operating.
You are allowed to leave home if you are escaping harm or are at risk of harm from family violence or abuse.
In an emergency or crisis situation you must call 000.
Centre for Non-Violence
For local support and referral for women and children experiencing family violence.
Call 1800 884 292 or visit www.cnv.org.au/we-are-here-help
Sexual assault and family violence counselling service.
Call 1800 737 732 (24 hours) or visit www.1800respect.org.au
Men’s Referral Service
Men’s family violence telephone counselling and referral service.
Call 1300 766 491 or visit www.ntv.org.au
Call: 1300 368 821
With Respect (LGBTIQ+)
Call: 1800 542 847 – 9am to 5pm (Monday – Friday) & 3pm to 10pm (Saturday – Sunday)
Daisy is a free app developed by 1800 RESPECT that provides information and support services in your local area. Download the Daisy App
DHHS – Family Violence support during COVID-19
Victorian Police Family Violence videos for CALD Communities
Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria tip sheet
inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence
Rainbow Health Victoria tip sheet LGBTIQ inclusion for COVID-19 Remote Services